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-1900'  " 

OR, 

THE  LAST  PRESIDENT 


n \ 


BY\/* 

INGERSOLL  LOCKWOOD, 

Of  the  New  York  Bar. 


Copyrijjht,  1896,  by  Ingersoll  Lockwood. 


SEP  1 


The  Trade  Supplied  by 
THE  AMERICAN  NEWS  COMPANY, 
New  York. 


The  Chicago  Platform  assumes,  in  fact,  the 
form  of  a revolutionary  propaganda.  It  em- 
bodies a menace  of  national  disintegration 
and  destruction.  Garret  A.  Hobart. 


CHAPTER  1. 


That  was  a terrible  night  for  the  great  City  of 
New  York — the  night  of  Tuesday,  Noverjber  3rd, 
1896.  The  city  staggered  under  the  blow  like  a huge 
ocean  liner  which  plunges,  full  speed,  with  terrific 
crash  into  a mighty  iceberg,  and  recoils  shattered 
and  trembling  like  an  aspen. 

The  people  were  gathered,  light-hearted  and  con- 
fident, at  the  evening  meal,  when  the  news  burst 
upon  them.  It  was  like  a thunder  bolt  out  of  an 
azure  sky  : “ Altgeld  holds  Illinois  hard  and  fast  in 

the  Democratic  line.  This  elects  Bryan  President  of 
the  United  States !” 

Strange  to  say,  the  people  in  the  upper  portion  of 
the  city  made  no  movement  to  rush  out  of  their 
houses  and  collect  in  the  public  squares,  although  the 
night  was  clear  and  beautiful.  They  sat  as  if  paral- 
yzed with  a nameless  dread,  and  when  they  con- 
versed it  was  with  bated  breath  and  throbbing 
hearts. 

In  less  than  half  an  hour,  mounted  policemen 
dashed  through  the  streets  calling  out : “ Keep 

within  your  houses  ; close  your  doors  and  barricade 
them.  The  entire  East  side  is  in  a state  of  uproar. 
Mobs  of  vast  size  are  organizing  under  the  lead  of 
Anarchists  and  Socialists,  and  threaten  to  plunder 
and  despoil  the  houses  of  the  rich  who  have  wronged 
and  oppressed  them  for  so  many  years.  Keep  within 
doors.  Extinguish  all  lights.” 

3 


4 


Happily,  Governor  Morton  was  in  town,  and  al- 
though a deeper  palor  overcame  the  ashen  hue  of 
age  as  he  spoke,  yet  there  was  no  tremor  in  his  voice  : 
“ Let  the  Seventh,  Twenty-second  and  Seventy-first 
regiments  be  ordered  under  arms.”  In  a few  mo- 
ments hundreds  of  messengers  could  be  heard  racing 
through  the  silent  streets,  summoning  the  members 
of  these  regiments  to  their  Armories. 

Slowly,  but  with  astonishing  nerve  and  steadiness, 
the  mobs  pushed  the  police  northward,  and  although 
the  force  stood  the  onslaught  with  magnificent  cour- 
age,  yet  beaten  back,  the  dark  masses  of  infuriated 
beings  surged  up  again  with  renewed  fury  and 
strength.  Will  the  troops  be  in  time  to  save  the 
city  ? was  the  whispered  inquiry  among  the  knots  of 
police  officials  who  were  directing  the  movements  of 
their  men. 

About  nine  o’clock,  with  deafening  outcries,  the 
mob,  like  a four-headed  monster  breathing  fire  and 
flame,  raced,  tore,  burst,  raged  into  Union  Square. 

The  police  force  was  exhausted,  but  their  front  was 
still  like  a wall  of  stone,  save  that  it  was  movable. 
The  mob  crowded  it  steadily  to  the  north,  while  the 
air  quivered  and  was  rent  with  mad  vociferations  of 
the  victors  : Bryan  is  elected  ! Bryan  is  elected  [ 

Our  day  has  come  at  last.  Down  with  our  oppress- 
ors ! Death  to  the  rich  man  ! Death  to  the  gold 
bugs  ! Death  to  the  capitalists ! Give  us  back  the 
money  you  have  ground  out  of  us.  Give  us  back  the 
marrow  of  our  bones  which  you  have  used  to  grease 
the  wheels  of  your  chariots.” 

The  police  force  was  now  almost  helpless.  The 
men  still  used  their  sticks,  but  the  blows  were  inef- 
fectual, and  only  served  to  increase  the  rage  of  the 
vast  hordes  now  advancing  upon  Madison  Square. 


5 


The  Fifth  Avenue  Hotel  will  be  the  first  to  feel 
the  fury  of  the  mob.  Would  the  troops  be  in  time  to 
save  it? 

A half  cheer,  a half  cry  of  joy  goes  up.  It  is  inar- 
ticulate. Men  draw  a long  breath ; women  drop 
upon  their  knees  and  strain  their  eyes ; they  can  hear 
something,  but  they  cannot  see  as  yet,  for  the  gas 
houses  and  electric  plants  had  been  destroyed  by  the 
mob  early  in  the  evening.  They  preferred  to  fight 
in  the  dark,  or  by  the  flames  of  rich  men’s  abodes. 

Again  [a  cheer  goes  up,  louder  and  clearer  this 
time,  followed  by  cries  of  “ They’re  coming,  they’re 
coming.” 

Yes,  they  were  coming — the  Twenty-second  down 
Broadway,  the  Seventh  down  Madison  avenue,  both 
on  the  double  quick. 

In  a moment  or  so  there  were  a few  bugle  calls, 
and  a few  spoken  commands  rang  out  clear  and 
sharp  ; and  then  the  two  regiments  stretched  across 
the  entire  square,  literally  from  wall  to  wall,  in  line 
of  battle.  The  mob  was  upon  them.  Would  this 
slender  line  of  troops,  could  it  hold  such  a mighty 
mass  of  men  in  check  ? 

The  answer  was  a deafening  discharge  of  firearms, 
a terrific  crack,  such  as  some  thunder  bolts  make 
when  they  explode.  A wall  of  fire  blazed  across  the 
Square.  Again  and  again  it  blazed  forth.  The  mob 
halted,  stood  fast,  wavered,  fell  back,  advanced  again. 
At  that  moment  there  came  a rattle  as  of  huge 
knives  in  the  distance.  It  was  the  gallant  Seventy- 
first  charging  up  Twenty-third  street,  and  taking  the 
mob  on  the  flank.  They  came  on  like  a wall  of  iron, 
bristling  with  blades  of  steel. 

There  were  no  outcries,  no  cheers  from  the  regi- 
ment. It  dealt  out  death  in  silence,  save  when  two 


6 


bayonets  crossed  and  clashed  in  bearing  down 
some  doubly-vigorotis  foe. 

As  the  bells  rang  out  midnight,  the  last  remnants 
of  the  mob  were  driven  to  cover,  but  the  wheels  of 
the  dead  wagons  rattled  till  daybreak. 

And  then  the  aged  Governor,  in  response  to  the 
Mayor’s  “Thank  God,  we’ve  saved  the  city!”  made 
answer  : 

“Aye,  but  the  Republic 


n 


CHAPTER  11. 


Great  as  has  been  the  world’s  wonder  at  the  up- 
rising of  Mr.  Bryan’s  struggling  masses  ” in  the  city 
by  the  sea,  and  the  narrow  escape  of  its  magnificent 
homes  from  fire  and  brand,  yet  greater  still  was  the 
wonderment  when  the  news  was  flashed  across  the 
land  that  Chicago  did  not  stand  in  need  of  a single 
Federal  soldier. 

“Chicago  is  mad,  but  it  is  the  madness  of  joy. 
Chicago  is  in  the  hands  of  a mob,  but  it  is  a mob 
made  up  of  her  own  people — noisy,  rude  and 
boisterous,  the  natural  exultation  of  a suddenly  en- 
franchised class  ; but  bent  on  no  other  mischief  than 
glorying  over  the  villainous  and  self-seeking  souls 
who  have  ground  the  faces  of  the  poor  and  turned 
the  pitiless  screw  of  social  and  political  power  into 
the  hearts  of  the  ‘ common  people  ' until  its  last 
thread  had  been  reached,  and  despair  pressed  its 
lupine  visage  hard  against  the  door  of  the  laboring 
man.” 

And  yet,  at  this  moment  when  the  night  air  quiv- 
ered with  the  mad  vociferations  of  the  “common 
people,”  that  the  Lord  had  been  good  to  them ; that 
the  wicked  money-changers  had  been  driven  from 
the  temple,  that  the  stony-hearted  usurers  were 
beaten  at  last,  that  the  “ People’s  William  ” was  at 
the  helm  now,  that  peace  and  plenty  would  in  a few 
moons  come  back  to  the  poor  man’s  cottage,  that 
Silver  was  King,  aye.  King  at  last,  the  world  still  went 
7 


wondering  why  red-eyed  anarchy,  as  she  stood  in 
Haymarket  Square,  with  thin  arms  aloft,  with  wild 
mien  and  wilder  gesticulation,  drew  no  bomb  of 
dynamite  from  her  bosom,  to  hurl  at  the  hated 
minions  of  the  law  who  were  silent  spectators  of  this 
delirium  of  popular  joy. 

Why  was  it  thus  ? Look  and  you  shall  know  why 
white  robed  peace  kept  step  with  this  turbulent  band 
and  turned  its  thought  from  red  handed  pillage.  He 
was  there.  The  master  spirit  to  hold  them  in  leash. 
He,  and  he  alone,  had  lifted  Bryan  to  his  great  emi- 
nence. Without  these  twenty-four  electoral  votes, 
Bryan  had  been  doomed,  hopelessly  doomed.  He, 
and  he  alone,  held  the  great  Commonwealth  of  the 
West  hard  and  fast  in  the  Democratic  line  ; hence  he 
came  as  conqueror,  as  King-maker,  and  the  very  walls 
of  the  sky-touching  edifices  trembled  as  he  was 
dragged  through  the  crowded  streets  by  this  orderly 
mob,  and  ten  times  ten  thousand  of  his  creatures 
bellowed  his  name  and  shook  their  hats  aloft  in  mad 
exultation  : 

^Wou’re  our  Saviour,  you’ve  cleaned  the  Temple 
of  Liberty  of  its  foul  horde  of  usurers.  We  salute 
you.  We  call  you  King-maker.  Bryan  shall  call 
you  Master  too.  You  shall  have  your  reward.  You 
shall  stand  behind  the  throne.  Your  wisdom  shall 
make  us  whole.  You  shall  purge  the  land  of  this  un- 
lawful crowd  of  money  lenders.  You  shall  save  the 
Republic.  You  are  greater  than  Washington.  You’re 
a better  friend  of  ours  than  Lincoln.  You’ll  do  more 
fqr  us  than  Grant.  We’re  your  slaves.  We  salute 
you.  We  thank  you.  We  bless  you.  Hurrah ! 
Hurrah  ! Hurrah  !” 

But  yet  this  vast  throng  of  tamed  monsters,  this 
mighty  mob  of  momentarily  good-natured  haters  of 


9 


established  order,  broke  away  from  the  master’s  con- 
trol for  a few  brief  moments,  and  dipped  their  hands 
in  the  enemy’s  blood.  The  deed  was  swift  as  it  was 
terrible.  There  were  but  four  of  them,  unarmed,  on 
pleasure  bent.  At  sight  of  these  men,  a thousand 
throats  belched  out  a deep  and  awful  growl  of  hatred. 
They  were  brave  men,  and  backed  against  the  wall 
to  die  like  brave  men,  stricken  down,  beaten,  torn, 
trampled,  dragged,  it  was  quick  work.  They  had 
faced  howling  savages  in  the  far  West,  painted  mon- 
sters in  human  form,  but  never  had  they  heard  such 
yells  leave  the  throats  of  men  ; and  so  they  died,  four 
brave  men,  clad  in  the  blue  livery  of  the  Republic, 
whose  only  crime  was  that  some  months  back,  against 
the  solemn  protest  of  the  Master,  their  comrades  had 
set  foot  on  the  soil  of  the  commonwealth,  and  saved 
the  Metropolis  of  the  West  from  the  hands  of  this 
same  mob. 

And  so  Chicago  celebrated  the  election  of  the  new 
President  who  was  to  free  the  land  from  the  grasp  of 
the  money-lenders,  and  undo  the  bad  business  of 
years  of  unholy  union  between  barterers  and  sellers 
of  human  toil  and  the  law  makers  of  the  land. 

Throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  South, 
and  beyond  the  Great  Divide,  the  news  struck  hamlet 
and  village  like  the  glad  tidings  of  a new  evangel, 
almost  as  potent  for  human  happiness  as  the  heavenly 
message  of  two  thousand  years  ago.  Bells  rang  out 
in  joyful  acclaim,  and  the  very  stars  trembled  at  the 
telling,  and  the  telling  over  and  over  of  what  had 
been  done  for  the  poor  man  by  his  brethren  of  the 
North,  and  around  the  blazing  pine  knots  of  the 
Southern  cabin  and  in  front  of  the  mining  camp  fires 
of  the  Far  West,  the  cry  went  up  : Silver  is  King  ! 
Silver  is  King !”  Black  palms  and  white  were 


lO 


clasped  in  this  strange  love-feast,  and  the  dark 
skinned  grand  child  no  longer  felt  the  sting  of  the 
lash  on  his  sire's  shoulder.  All  was  peace  and  good 
will,  for  the  people  were  at  last  victorious  over  their 
enemies  who  had  taxed  and  tithed  them  into  a very 
living  death.  Now  the  laborer  w’ould  not  only  be 
worthy  of  his  hire,  but  it  would  be  paid  to  him  in  a 
people’s  dollar,  for  the  people’s  good,  and  now  the 
rich  man’s  coffers  would  be  made  to  yield  up  their 
ill-gotten  gain,  and  the  sun  would  look  upon  this 
broad  and  fair  land,  and  find  no  man  without  a mar- 
ket for  the  product  of  his  labors.  Henceforth,  the 
rich  man  should,  as  was  right  and  proper,  pay  a royal 
sum  for  the  privilege  of  his  happiness,  and  take  the 
nation’s  taxes  on  his  broad  shoulders,  where  they 
belong. 


I f 


CHAPTER  III. 


The  pens  of  many  writers  would  not  suffice  to 
describe  with  anything  like  historical  fullness  and 
precision,  the  wild  scenes  of  excitement  which,  on 
the  morning  after  election  day,  burst  forth  on  the 
floors  of  the  various  exchanges  throughout  the  Union. 
The  larger  and  more  important  the  money  centre, 
the  deeper,  blacker  and  heavier  the  despair  which 
sank  upon  them  after  the  violent  ebullitions  of  pro« 
test,  defiance  and  execration  had  subsided.  With 
some,  it  seemed  that  visions  of  their  swift  but  sure 
impoverishment  only  served  to  transform  the  dark 
and  dismal  drama  of  revolution  and  disintegration 
into  a side-splitting  farce,  and  they  greeted  the  pro- 
spective loss  of  their  millions  with  loud  guffaws  and 
indescribable  antics  of  horseplay  and  unseemly  mirth. 

As  the  day  wore  on,  the  news  became  worse  and 
worse.  It  was  only  too  apparent  that  the  House  of 
Representatives  of  the  Fifty-fifth  Congress  would  be 
controlled  by  the  combined  vote  of  the  Populists  and 
Free  Silver  men,  while  the  wild  joy  with  which  the 
entire  South  welcomed  the  election  of  Bryan  and 
Sewall  left  little  doubt  in  the  minds  of  the  Northern 
people  that  the  Southern  Senators  would,  to  a man^ 
range  themselves  on  the  Administration  side  of  the 
great  conflict  into  which  the  Republic  was  soon  to  be 
precipitated.  Add  to  these  the  twenty  Senators  of 
the  Free  Silver  vStates  of  the  North,  and  the  new 
President  would  have  the  Congress  of  the  Republic 


II 


12 


at  his  back.  There  would  be  nothing  to  stand  be- 
tween him  and  the  realization  of  those  schemes  which 
an  exhuberant  fancy,  untamed  by  the  hand  of  ex- 
perience, and  scornful  of  the  leadingstrings  of 
wisdom,  can  conjure  up. 

Did  we  say  nothing  ? Nay,  not  so  ; for  the 
Supreme  Court  was  still  there.  And  yet  Justice  Field 
had  come  fully  up  to  the  eightieth  milestone  in  the 
journey  of  life  and  Justice  Gray  was  nearly  seventy, 
while  one  or  two  other  members  of  this  High  Court 
of  Judicature  held  to  their  lives  with  feeble  grasp. 
Even  in  due  and  orderly  course  of  events,  why  might 
there  not  come  vacancies  and  then  ? . . . 

In  spite  of  the  nameless  dread  that  rested  upon  so 
many  of  our  people,  and  chilled  the  very  blood  of  the 
country’s  industries,  the  new  year  ’97  came  hopefully, 
erenely,  almost  defiantly  in.  There  was  an  indes- 
cribable something  in  the  air,  a spirit  of  political 
devil-me-care,  a feeling  that  the  old  order  had  passed 
away  and  that  the  Republic  had  entered  into  the 
womb  of  Time  and  been  born  again.  This  senti- 
ment began  to  give  outward  and  visible  signs  of  its 
existence  and  growth  in  the  remote  agricultural  dis- 
tricts of  the  South  and  Far  West.  They  threw  aside 
their  working  inplements,  loitered  about,  gathered 
in  groups  and  the  words  Washington,  White  House, 
Silver,  Bryan,  Offices,  Two  for  One,  the  South’s  Day, 
'Reign  of  the  Common  People,  Taxes,  Incomes,  Year 
of  Jubilee,  Free  Coinage,  Wall  Street,  Altgeld,  Till- 
man, Peffer,  Coxey,  were  whispered  in  a mysterious 
way  with  head  noddings  and  pursing  up  of  mouths. 

As  January  wore  away  and  February,  slipping  by, 
brought  Bryan’s  Inauguration  nearer  and  nearer,  the 
groups  melted  into  groups,  and  it  was  only  too  ap- 
parent that  from  a dozen  different  points  in  the  South 


13 


and  North  West  Coxey  Armies  were  forming*  for 
an  advance  on  Washington.  In  some  instances  they 
were  well  clad  and  well  provisioned ; in  others,  they 
were  little  better  than  great  bands  of  hungry  and 
restless  men,  demoralized  by  idleness  and  wrought 
up  to  a strange  degree  of  mental  excitement  by  the 
extravagant  harangues  of  their  leaders,  who  were 
animated  with  but  one  thought,  namely,  to  make  use 
of  these  vast  crowds  of  Silver  Pilgrims,  as  they 
called  themselves,  to  back  up  their  claims  for  public 
office. 

These  crowds  of  deluded  people  were  well  named 
“ Silver  Pilgrims,’'  for  hundreds  of  them  carried  in 
hempen  bags,  pieces  of  silverware,  in  ninety -nine 
cases  of  a hundred,  plated  stuff  of  little  value,  which 
unscrupulous  dealers  and  peddlers  had  palmed  off 
upon  them  as  sterling,  with  the  promises  that  once  in 
Washington,  the  United  States  Mint  would  coin  their 
metal  into  Bryan  Dollars  ” giving  “ two  for  one’^ 
in  payment  for  it. 

While  these  motley  armies  ” marched  upon  the 
capitol  of  the  Republic,  the  railway  trains  night  and 
day  brought  vast  crowds  of ‘‘new  men,”  politicians 
of  low  degree,  men  out  of  employment,  drunken  and 
disgruntled  mechanics,  farmer’s  sons,  to  seek  their 
fortunes  under  the  Reign  of  the  People,  heelers  and 
hangers-on  of  ward  bosses,  old  men  who  had  not 
tasted  office  for  thirty  3^ears  and  more,  all  inspired  by 
Mr.  Bryan’s  declaration  that  “ The  American  people 
are  not  in  favor  of  life  tenure  in  the  Civil  Service^ 
that  a permanent  office  holding  class  is  not  in  harmony 
with  our  institutions,  that  a fixed  term  in  appointive 
offices  would  open  the  public  service  to  a larger 
number  of  citizens,  without  impairing  its  efficiency,” 
all  bearing  new  besoms  in  their  hands  or  across  their 


14 


shoulders,  each  and  every  one  of  them  supremely 
confident  that  in  the  distribution  of  the  spoils  some- 
thing would  surely  fall  to  his  share,  since  they  were 
the  “ Common  People”  who  were  so  dear  to  Mr. 
Bryan,  and  w^ho  had  made  him  President  in  the  very 
face  of  the  prodigous  opposition  of  the  rich  men, 
whose  coffers  had  been  thrown  wide  open  all  to  no 
purpose,  and  in  spite  too  of  the  Satanic  and  truly 
devilish  power  of  that  hell  upon  earth  known  as  Wall 
Street,  which  had  svreated  gold  in  vain  in  its  des- 
perate efforts  to  fasten  the  chains  of  trusts  and  the 
claws  of  soulless  m.onsters  known  as  corporations 
upon  these  very  “Common  People,”  soon  to  march 
in  triumph  before  the  silver  chariot  of  the  young 
Conqueror  from  the  West. 


u 


CHAPTER  IV. 


There  had  been  a strange  prophecy  put  forth  by 
some  one,  and  it  had  made  its  waydnto  the  daily  jour- 
nals, and  had  been  laughingly  or  seriously  com- 
mented upon,  according  to  the  political  tone  of  the 
paper,  or  the  passing  humor  of  the  writer,  that  the 
4th  of  March,  1897,  would  never  dawn  upon  the 
American  people.  There  was  something  very  curi- 
ous and  uncanny  about  the  prediction,  and  what  ac- 
tually happened  was  not  qualified  to  loosen  the  fear- 
ful tension  of  public  anxiety,  for  the  day  literally  and 
truly  never  dawned  upon  the  City  of  Washington, 
and  well  deserves  its  historical  name,  the  Dawnless 
Day.”  At  six  o’clock,  the  hour  of  daybreak,  such  an 
impenetrable  pall  of  clouds  overhung  the  city  that 
there  came  no  signs  of  day.  The  gathering  crowds 
could  plainly  hear  the  plaintive  cries  and  lamenta- 
tions put  up  in  the  negro  quarters  of  the  city.  Not 
until  nearly  nine  o’clock  did  the  light  cease  to  shine 
in  darkness  ” and  the  darkness  begin  to  comprehend 
it. 

But  although  it  was  a cheerless  gray  day,  even  at 
high  noon,  its  heaviness  set  no  weight  upon  the  spir- 
its of  the  jubilant  tens  of  thousands  which  completely 
filled  the  city  and  its  public  parks,  and  ran  over  into 
camps  and  hastily  improvised  shelters  outside  the 
city  limits. 

Not  until  the  day  previous  had  the  President  an- 
nounced the  names  of  those  selected  for  his  Cabinet. 

15 


i6 

The  South  and  Far  West  were  fairly  beside  them- 
selves with  joy,  for  there  had  been  from  their  stand- 
point ugly  rumors  abroad  for  several  days.  It  had 
even  been  hinted  that  Bryan  had  surrendered  to  the 
money  changers,”  and  that  the  selection  of  his  con- 
stitutional advisers  would  prove  him  recreant  to  the 
glorious  cause  of  popular  government,  and  that  the 
Reign  of  the  Common  People  would  remain  but  a 
dream  of  the  ‘‘struggling  masses.” 

But  these  apprehensions  were  short  lived.  The 
young  President  stood  firm  and  fast  on  the  platform 
of  the  parties  which  had  raised  him  to  his  proud  emi- 
nence. And  what  better  proof  of  his  thorough  be- 
lief in  himself  and  in  his  mission  could  he  have  given 
than  the  following : 

Secretary  of  State — William  M.  Stewart,  of  Nevada. 

Secretaty  of  Treasury — Richard  P.  Bland,  of  Mis- 
souri. 

Secretary  of  War — John  P.  Altgeld,  of  Illinois. 

Attorney  General — Roger  Q.  Mills,  of  Texas. 

Postmaster  General — Henry  George,  of  New 
York. 

Secretary  Navy — John  Gary  Evans,  of  South 
Carolina. 

vSecretary  Interior — William  A.  Peffer,  of  Kansas. 

Secretary  Agriculture — Lafe  Pence,  of  Colorado. 
u The  first  thing  that  fiashed  across  the  minds  of 
many  upon  glancing  over  this  list  of  names  was  the 
omission  therefrom  of  Tillman’s.  What  did  it  mean  ? 
Could  the  young  President  have  quarreled  with  his 
best  friend,  his  most  powerful  coadjutor  ? But  the 
wiser  ones  only  shook  their  heads  and  made  answer 
that  it  was  Tillman’s  hand  that  filled  the  blank  for 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  left  there  by  the  new  ruler 
after  the  people’s  own  heart.  Evans  was  but  a crea- 


17 


tion  of  this  great  Commoner  of  the  South,  an  image 
graven  with  his  hands. 

The  inaugural  address  was  not  a disappointment 
to  those  who  had  come  to  hear  it.  It  was  like  the 
man  who  delivered  it — bold,  outspoken,  unmistakable 
in  its  terms,  promising  much,  impatient  of  precedent, 
reckless  of  result ; a double  confirmation  that  this 
was  to  be  the  Reign  of  the  Common  People,  that 
much  should  be  unmade  and  much  made  over,  and 
no  matter  how  the  rich  man  might  cry  out  in  anger 
or  amazement,  the  nation  must  march  on  to  the  ful- 
fillment of  a higher  and  nobler  mission  than  the  im- 
poverislnnent  and  degradation  of  the  millions  for  the 
enrichment  and  elevation  of  the  few. 

Scarcely  had  the  young  President — his  large  eyes 
filled  with  a strange  light,  and  his  smooth,  hairless 
visage  radiant  as  a cloudless  sky,  his  wife’s  arm 
twined  around  his,  and  their  hands  linked  in  those  of 
their  children — passed  within  the  lofty  portal  of  the 
White  House,  than  he  threw  himself  into  a chair, 
and  seizing  a sheet  of  official  paper  penned  the  fol- 
lowing order,  and  directed  its  immediate  promulga- 
tion : 

Executive  Mansion,  Washington,  D.  C.,  ) 
March  4th,  1897.  j" 

Executive  Order  No.  i. 

In  order  that  there  may  be  immediate  relief  in  the 
terrible  financial  depression  now  weighing  upon  our 
beloved  country,  consequent  upon  and  resulting 
from  the  unlawful  combination  of  capitalists  and 
money-lenders  both  in  this  Republic  and  in  Eng- 
land, and  that  the  ruinous  and  inevitable  progress 
toward  a universal  gold  standard  may  be  stayed,  the 
President  orders  and  directs  the  immediate  abandon- 
ment of  the  so-called  ‘‘gold  reserve/’  and  that  on 


and  after  the  promulgation  of  this  order,  the  gold 
and  silver  standard  of  the  Constitution  be  resumed 
and  strictly  maintained  in  all  the  business  transac- 
tions of  the  Government. 

It  was  two  o’clock  in  the  afternoon  when  news  of 
this  now  world-famous  Executive  Order  was  flashed 
into  the  great  banking  centres  of  the  country.  Its 
effect  in  Wall  street  beggars  description.  On  the 
floor  of  the  Stock  Exchange  men  yelled  and  shrieked 
like  painted  savages,  and,  in  their  mad  struggles, 
tore  and  trampled  each  other.  Many  dropped  in 
fainting  fits,  or  fell  exhausted  from  their  wild  and 
senseless  efforts  to  say  what  none  would  listen  to. 
Ashen  pallor  crept  over  the  faces  of  some,  while  the 
blood  threatened  to  burst  the  swollen  arteries  that 
spread  in  purple  network  over  the  brows  of  others. 
When  silence  came  at  last,  it  was  a silence  broken 
by  sobs  and  groans.  Some  wept,  while  others  stood 
dumb-stricken  as  if  it  was  all  a bad  dream,  and  they 
were  awaiting  the  return  of  their  poor  distraught 
senses  to  set  them  right  again.  Ambulances  were 
hastily  summoned  and  fainting  and  exhausted  forms 
were  borne  through  hushed  and  whispering  masses 
wedged  into  Wall  street,  to  be  whirled  away  uptown 
to  their  residences,  there  to  come  into  full  possession 
of  their  senses  only  to  cry  out  in  their  anguish  that 
^/ruin,  black  ruin,  stared  them  in  the  face  if  this  news 
from  Washington  should  prove  true. 


CHAPTER  V. 


By  proclamation  bearing  date  the  5th  day  of  March 
1897,  the  President  summoned  both  houses  of  Con- 
gress to  convene  in  extraordinary  session  for  the 
consideration  of  the  general  welfare  of  the  United 
States,  and  to  take  such  action  as  might  seem  neces- 
sary and  expedient  to  them  on  certain  measures 
which  he  should  recommend  to  their  consideration, 
measures  of  vital  import  to  the  welfare  and  happiness 
of  the  people,  if  not  to  the  very  existence  of  the 
Union  and  the  continuance  of  their  enjoyment  of  the 
liberties  achieved  by  the  fathers  of  the  Republic.” 

While  awaiting  the  day  set  for  the  coming  together 
of  the  Congress,  the  Great  Friend  of  the  Common 
People  ” came  suddenly  face  to  face  with  the  first 
serious  business  of  his  Administration.  Fifty  thou- 
sand people  tramped  the  streets  of  V/ashington 
without  bread  or  shelter.  Many  had  come  in  quest 
of  office,  lured  on  by  the  solemn  pronouncement  of 
their  candidate  that  there  should  be  at  once  a clean 
sweep  of  these  barnacles  of  the  ship  of  State  and  so 
complete  had  been  their  confidence  in  their  glorious 
young  captain,  that  they  had  literally  failed  to  pro- 
vide themselves  with  either  ‘‘  purse  or  script  or  shoes,” 
and  now  stood  hungry  and  footsore  at  his  gate,  beg- 
ging for  a crust  of  bread.  But  most  of  those  making 
up  this  vast  multitude  were  the  unarmed  warriors 
of  peaceful  armies  ” like  the  one  once  led  by  the  re- 
doubtable Coxey,  decoyed  from  farm  and  hamlet  and 

19 


20 


plantation  by  some  nameless  longing  to  go  forth 
to  stand  in  the  presence  of  this  new  Savior  of  Society, 
whose  advent  to  power  was  to  bring  them  double 
pay**  for  all  their  toil.  While  on  the  march  all  had 
gone  well,  for  their  brethren  had  opened  their  hearts 
and  their  houses  as  these  “ unarmed  warriors  **  had 
jnarched  with  flying  banners  and  loud  huzzas  through 
the  various  towns  on  the  route. 

But  now  the  holiday  was  over,  they  were  far  from 
their  homes,  they  were  in  danger  of  perishing  from 
hunger.  What  was  to  be  done  ? “ They  are  our 
people,  **said  the  President,  their  love  of  country 
has  undone  them  ; the  nation  must  not  let  them  suf- 
fer, for  they  are  its  hope  and  its  shield  in  the  hour  of 
war,  and  its  glory  and  its  refuge  in  times  of  peace. 
They  are  the  common  people  for  whose  benefit  this 
Republic  was  established.  The  Kings  of  the  earth 
may  desert  them  ; I never  shall.’*  The  Secretary  of 
War  was  directed  to  establish  camps  in  the  paries  and 
suburbs  of  the  city  and  to  issue  rations  and  blankets 
to  these  luckless  wanderers  until  the  Government 
could  provide  for  their  transportation  back  to  their 
homes. 

On  Monday,  March  15th,  the  President  received 
the  usual  notification  from  both  houses  of  Congress, 
that  they  had  organized  and  were  ready  for  the  con- 
sideration of  such  measures  as  he  might  choose  to 
recommend  for  their  action. 

The  first  act  to  pass  both  houses  and  receive  the 
signature  of  the  President,  was  an  Act  repealing  the 
Act  of  1873,  and  opening  the  mints  of  the  United 
States  to  the  free  coinage  of  silver  at  the  ratio  of  six- 
teen to  one,  with  gold,  and  establishing  branch  mints 
in  the  cities  of  Denver,  Omaha,  Chicago,  Kansas  City, 
Spokane,  Los  Angeles,  Charleston  and  Mobile. 


The  announcement  that  reparation  had  thus  been 
made  to  the  people  for  the  Crime  of  1873  ” was  re- 
ceived with  loud  cheering  on  the  floors  and  in  the 
galleries  of  both  houses. 

And  the  Great  North  heard  these  cheers  and 
trembled. 

The  next  measure  of  great  public  import  brought 
before  the  House  was  an  act  to  provide  additional 
revenue  by  levying  a tax  upon  the  incomes,  sub- 
stantially on  the  lines  laid  down  by  the  legislation  of 
1894.  The  Republican  Senators  strove  to  make  some 
show  of  resistance  to  this  measure,  but  so  solid  were 
the  administration  ranks,  that  they  only  succeeded  in 
delaying  it  for  a few  Aveeks.  This  first  skirmish  with 
the  enemy,  however,  brought  the  President  and  his 
followers  to  a realizing  sense  that  not  only  must  the 
Senate  be  shorn  of  its  power  to  block  the  ‘‘new 
movement  of  regeneration  and  reform  by  the  adop- 
tion of  rules  cutting  off  prolonged  debate,  but  that 
the  “ new  dispensation  must  at  once  proceed  to  in- 
crease its  senatorial  representation,  for  who  could 
tell  what  moment  some  one  of  the  Northern  Silver 
States  might  not  slip  away  from  its  allegiance  to  the 
“ Friend  of  the  Common  People.” 

The  introduction  of  a bill  repealing  the  various 
Civil  Service  acts  passed  for  the  alleged  purpose  of 
“ regulating  and  improving  the  Civil  Service  of  the 
United  States,”  and  of  another  repealing  the  various 
acts  establishing  National  Banks,  and  substituting 
United  States  notes  for  all  national  bank  notes  based 
upon  interest  bearing  bonds,  opened  the  eyes  of  the 
Republican  opposition  to  the  fact  that  the  Pre.sident 
and  his  party  were  possessed  of  the  courage  of  their 
convictions,  and  were  determined,  come  good  report 
or  evil  report,  to  wipe  all  conflicting  legislation  from 


22 


the  statute  books.  The  battle  in  the  Senate  now 
took  on  a spirit  of  extreme  acrimony ; scenes  not 
witnessed  since  the  days  of  Slavery,  were  of  daily 
occurrence  on  the  floors  of  both  the  House  and  the 
Senate.  Threats  of  secession  came  openly  from  the 
North  only  to  be  met  with  the  jeers  and  laughter  of 
the  silver  and  populist  members.  “We’re  in  the  sad- 
dle at  last,”  exclaimed  a Southern  member,  “ and  we 
intend  to  ride  on  to  \dctory !” 

The  introduction  of  bills  for  the  admission  of  New 
Mexico  and  Arizona,  and  for  the  division  of  Texas 
into  two  States  to  be  called  East  Texas  and  West 
Texas,  although  each  of  these  measures  was  strictly 
within  the  letter  of  the  Constitution,  fell  among  the 
members  of  the  Republican  opposition  like  a torch 
in  a house  of  tinder.  There  was  fire  at  once,  and  the 
blaze  of  party  spirit  leapt  to  such  dangerous  heights 
that  the  whole  nation  looked  on  in  consternation. 
Was  the  Union  about  to  go  up  in  a great  conflagra- 
tion and  leave  behind  it  but  the  ashes  and  charred 
pedestals  of  its  greatness  ? 

“ We  are  the  people  ” wrote  the  President  in  lines 
of  dignity  and  calmness.  “We  are  the  people  and 
w’hat  we  do,  we  do  under  the  holy  sanction  of  law*, 
and  there  is  no  one  so  powerful  or  so  bold  as  to  dare 
to  say  we  do  not  do  w^ell  in  lifting  off  the  nation’s 
shoulders  the  grievous  and  unlawful  burdens  w^hich 
preceding  Congresses  have  placed  upon  them.” 

And  so  the  “ Long  Session  ” of  the  fifty-fifth  Con- 
gress was  entered  upon,  fated  to  last  through  summer 
heat  and  autumn  chill,  and  until  winter  came  again 
and  the  Constitution  itself  set  limits  to  its  lasting. 
And  when  that  day  came,  and  its  speaker,  amid  a 
wild  tumult  of  cheers,  arose  to  declare  it  ended  not 
by  their  will,  but  by  the  law  of  the  land,  he  said : 


23 


^‘The  glorious  revolution  is  in  its  brightest  bud. 
Since  the  President  called  upon  us  to  convene  in  last 
March,  we  have  with  the  strong  blade  of  public  in- 
dignation, and  with  a full  sense  of  our  responsibility, 
erased  from  the  statute  books  the  marks  of  our  coun- 
try’s shame  and  our  people’s  subjugation.  Liberty 
can  not  die.  There  remains  much  to  be  done  in  the 
way  of  building  up.  Let  us  take  heart  and  push  on. 
On  Monday,  the  regular  session  of  this  Congress  will 
begin.  We  must  greet  our  loved  ones  from  the  dis- 
tance. We  have  no  time  to  go  home  and  embrace 
them.” 


CHAPTER  VI. 


When  a Republican  member  of  the  House  arose 
to  move  the  usual  adjournment  for  the  holidays, 
there  was  a storm  of  hisses  and  cries  of  No,  no  !” 

Said  the  leader  of  the  House,  amid  deafening 
plaudits : ‘‘We  are  the  servants  of  the  people.  Our 
work  is  not  yet  complete.  There  must  be  no  play 
for  us  while  coal  barons  stand  with  their  feet  on  the 
ashes  of  the  poor  man’s  hearthstone,  and  weeds  and 
thorns  cumber  the  fields  of  the  farmer  for  lack  of 
money  to  buy  seed  and  implements.  There  must  be 
no  play  for  us  while  railway  magnates  press  from  the 
pockets  of  the  laboring  man  six  and  eight  per  cent, 
return  on  thrice  watered  stocks,  and  rapacious  land- 
lords, enriched  by  inheritance,  grind  the  faces  of  the 
poor.  There  must  be  no  play  for  us  while  enemies 
of  the  human  kind  are,  by  means  of  trust  and  com- 
bination and  ‘corners,’  engaged  in  drawing  their  un- 
holy millions  from  the  very  life-blood  of  the  nation, 
paralyzing  its  best  efforts  and  setting  the  blight  of 
intemperance  and  indifference  upon  it,  by  making 
life  but  one  long  struggle  for  existence,  without  a 
gleam  of  rest  and  comfort  in  old  age.  No,  Mr. 
Speaker,  we  must  not  adjourn,  but  by  our  efforts  in 
these  halls  of  legislation  let  the  nation  know  that  we 
are  at  work  for  its  emancipation,  and  by  these  means 
let  the  monopolists  and  money-changers  be  brought 
to  a realizing  sense  that  the  Reign  of  the  Common 
People  has  really  been  entered  upon,  and  then  the 

24 


25 


bells  will  ring-  out  a happier,  gladder  New  Year  than 
has  ever  dawned  upon  this  Republic.” 

The  opposition  fairly  quailed  before  the  vigor  and 
earnestness  of  the  “new  dispensation.”  There  were 
soon  before  the  House  and  pressed  well  on  toward 
final  passage  a number  of  important  measures  calcu- 
lated to  awaken  an  intense  feeling  of  enthusiasm 
among  the  working  classes.  Among  these  was  an 
Act  establishing  a Loan  Commission  for  the  loaning 
of  certain  moneys  of  the  United  States  to  Farmers 
and  Planters  without  interest ; an  Act  for  the  estab- 
lishment of  a permanent  Department  of  Public 
Works,  its  head  to  be  styled  Secretary  of  Public 
Works,  rank  as  a cabinet  officer,  and  supervise  the 
expenditure  of  all  public  moneys  for  the  construction 
of  public  buildings  and  the  improvement  of  rivers 
and  harbors ; an  Act  making  it  a felony,  punishable 
with  imprisonment  for  life,  for  any  citizen  or  com- 
bination of  citizens  to  enter  into  any  trust  or  agree- 
ment to  stifle,  suppress  or  in  any  way  interfere  with 
full,  open  and  fair  competition  in  trade  and  manu- 
facture among  the  States,  or  to  make  use  of  any 
inter-vState  railroads,  waterways  or  canals  for  the 
transportation  of  any  food  products  or  goods,  wares 
or  merchandise  which  may  have  been  “cornered,” 
stored  or  withheld  with  a view  to  enhance  the  value 
thereof ; and,  most  important  of  all,  a preliminary 
Act  having  for  its  object  the  appointment  of  Com- 
missioners for  the  purchase  by  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment of  all  inter-State  railway  and  telegraph  lines, 
and  in  the  meantime  the  strict  regulation  of  all  fares 
and  charges  by  a Government  Commission,  from 
whose  established  schedules  there  shall  be  no 
appeal. 

On  Washington’s  Birthday  the  President  issued  an 


26 


Address  of  Congratulation  to  the  People  of  the 
United  States,  from  which  the  following  is  extracted : 

The  malicious  prognostications  of  our  political 
opponents  have  proven  themselves  to  be  but  empty 
sound  and  fury.  Although  not  quite  one  year  has 
elapsed  since  I,  agreeable  to  your  mandate,  restored 
to  you  the  money  of  the  Constitution,  yet  from  every 
section  of  our  Union  comes  the  glad  tidings  of  re- 
newed activity  and  prosperit3\  The  workingman  no 
longer  sits  cold  and  hungry  beside  a cheerless 
hearthstone ; the  farmer  has  taken  heart  and  re- 
sumed work  ; the  wheels  of  the  factory  are  in  motion 
again  ; the  shops  and  stores  of  the  legitimate  dealer 
and  trader  are  full  of  bustle  and  action.  There  is 
content  everywhere,  save  in  the  counting-room  of  the 
money-changer,  for  which  thank  God  and  the  com- 
mon people  of  this  Republic.  The  free  coinage  of 
that  metal  which  the  Creator,  in  His  wisdom,  stored 
with  so  lavish  a hand  in  the  subterranean  vaults  of 
our  glorious  mountain  ranges,  has  proven  a rich  and 
manifold  blessing  for  our  people.  It  is  in  every 
sense  of  the  word  the  ‘people’s  money,’  and  already 
the  envious  world  looks  on  in  amazement  that  we 
have  shown  our  ability  to  do  without  ‘ foreign  co- 
operation.’ The  Congress  of  our  Republic  has  been 
in  almost  continuous  session  since  I took  my  oath  of 
office,  and  the  administration  members  deserve  your 
deepest  and  most  heartfelt  gratitude.  They  are 
rearing  for  themselves  a monument  more  lasting 
than  chiseled  bronze  or  polished  monolith.  They 
knew  no  rest,  they  asked  for  no  respite  from  their 
labors  until,  at  my  earnest  request,  they  adjourned 
over  to  join  their  fellow  citizens  in  the  observance  of 
this  sacred  anniversary. 

“ Fellow . citizens,  remember  the  bonds  which  a 


27 


wicked  and  selfish  class  of  usurers  and  speculators 
fastened  upon  you,  and  on  this  anniversary  of  the 
birth  of  the  Father  of  our  Country,  let  us  renew  our 
pledges  to  undo  completely  and  absolutely  their  in- 
famous work,  and  in  public  assembly  and  family 
circle,  let  us  by  new  vows  confirm  our  love  of  right 
and  justice,  so  that  the  great  gain  may  not  slip  away 
from  us,  but  go  on  increasing  so  long  as  the  statute 
books  contain  a single  trace  of  the  record  of  our  en- 
slavement. As  for  me,  I have  but  one  ambition,  and 
that  is  to  deserve  so  well  of  you  that  when  you  come 
to  write  my  epitaph,  you  set  beneath  my  name  the 
single  line : 

Here  lies  a Friend  of  the  Common  People.'" 


CHAPTER  VII. 


This  first  year  of  the  Silver  Administration  was 
scarcely  rounded  up,  ere  there  began  to  be  ugly 
rumors  that  the  Government  was  no  longer  able  to 
hold  the  white  metal  at  a parity  with  gold.  “ It  is 
the  work  of  Wall  Street,”  cried  the  friends  of  the 
President,  but  wiser  heads  were  shaken  in  contra- 
diction, for  they  had  watched  the  sowing  of  the  wind 
of  unreason,  and  knew  only  too  well  that  the  whirl- 
wind of  folly  must  be  reaped  in  due  season. 

The  country  had  been  literally  submerged  by  a 
silver  flood  which  had  poured  its  argent  waves  into 
every  nook  and  cranny  of  the  Republic,  stimulating 
human  endeavor  to  most  unnatural  and  harmful 
vigor.  Mad  speculation  stalked  over  the  land.  People 
sold  what  they  should  have  clung  to,  and  bought 
what  they  did  not  need.  Manufacturers  heaped  up 
goods  for  which  there  was  no  demand,  and  farmers 
ploughed  where  they  had  not  drained  and  drained, 
where  they  were  never  fated  to  plough.  The  small 
(dealer  enlarged  his  business  with  more  haste  than 
judgment,  and  the  widow  drew  her  mite  from  the 
bank  of  savings  to  buy  land  on  which  she  was  des- 
tined never  to  set  foot.  The  spirit  of  greed  and  gain 
lodged  in  every  mind,  and  the  Common  People  ” 
with  a mad  eagerness  loosened  the  strings  of  their 
leather  purses  to  cast  their  hard-earned  savings  into 
wild  schemes  of  profit.  Every  scrap  and  bit  of  the 
white  metal  that  they  could  lay  their  hands  upon, 
28 


29 


spoons  hallowed  by  the  touch  of  lips  long  since  closed 
in  death,  and  cups  and  tankards  from  which  grand 
sires  had  drunken  were  bundled  away  to  the  mints 
to  be  coined  into  “people’s  dollars.” 

At  the  very  first  rumor  of  the  slipping  away  of 
this  trusted  coin  from  its  parity  with  gold,  there  was 
a fearful  awakening,  like  the  start  and  the  gasp  of 
the  miser  who  sees  his  horded  treasure  melting  away 
from  before  his  eyes,  and  he  not  able  to  reach  out 
and  stay  its  going. 

Protest  and  expostulation  first,  then  came  groans 
and  prayers,  from  which  there  was  an  easy  road  to 
curses.  The  working  man  threw  off  his  cap  and 
apron  to  rush  upon  the  public  square,  and  demand 
his  rights.  Mobs  ran  together,  processions  formed, 
deputations  hurried  off  to  Washington,  not  on  foot 
like  the  Coxey  Army,  but  on  the  swift  wings  of  the 
Limited  Express. 

The  “ common  people  ” were  admitted  to  the  bar 
of  the  house,  their  plaints  patiently  listened  to,  and 
reparation  promised.  Bills  for  increased  revenue 
were  hurridly  introduced,  and  new  taxes  were  loaded 
upon  the  broad  shoulders  of  the  millionaires  of  the 
nation  ; — taxes  on  checks,  taxes  on  certificates  of  in- 
corporation, taxes  on  deeds  and  mortgages,  taxes 
on  pleasure  yachts,  taxes  on  private  parks  and 
plaisances,  taxes  on  wills  of  all  property  above 
$5,000  in  value,  taxes  on  all  gifts  of  realty  for  and 
in  consideration  of  natural  love  and  affection,  taxes 
on  all  passage  tickets  to  foreign  lands,  and  double 
taxes  on  the  estates  of  all  absentees  on  and  after  the 
lapse  of  six  months. 

There  was  a doubling  up  too  of  the  tariff  on  all  im- 
portant luxuries,  for  as  was  said  on  the  floor  of  Con- 
gress, “ if  the  silks  and  satins  of  American  looms  and 


30 


the  wines  and  tobacco  of  native  growth,  are  not  good 
enough  for  ^ my  Lord  of  Wall  Street,’  let  him  pay  the 
difference  and  thank  heaven  that  he  can  get  them  at 
that  price.” 

To  quiet  the  murmurs  of  the  good  people  of  the 
land,  additional  millions  were  placed  to  the  credit  of 
the  Department  of  Public  Works,  and  harbors  were 
dredged  out  in  one  month  only  to  fill  up  in  the  next, 
and  new  systems  of  improvement  of  interstate  water- 
ways were  entered  upon  on  a scale  of  magnitude 
hitherto  undreamt  of.  The  Commissioners  for  the 
distribution  of  public  moneys  to  farmers  so  impover- 
ished as  to  be  unable  to  work  their  lands,  were  kept 
busy  in  placing  “ Peffer  Loans  ” where  the  need  of 
them  seemed  to  be  the  greatest,  and  to  put  a stop  to 
the  nefarious  doings  of  money  changers  and  trad- 
ers in  the  misfortunes  of  the  people,  a statute  was 
enacted  making  it  a felony  punishable  with  imprison- 
ment for  life,  for  any  person  or  corporate  body  to 
buy  and  sell  government  bonds  or  public  funds,  or 
deal  in  them  with  a view  to  draw  gain  or  profit  from 
their  rise  and  fall  in  value. 

But  try  never  so  hard,  the  Government  found  itself 
powerless  to  check  the  slow  but  steady  decline  in 
value  of  the  people’s  dollar.  By  midsummer,  it  had 
fallen  to  forty- three  cents,  and  ere  the  fair  North- 
land had  wrapped  itself,  like  a scornful  beauty,  in  its 
Autumn  mantle  of  gold,  the  fondly  trusted  coin  had 
sunk  to  exactly  one-third  of  the  value  of  a standard 
gold  dollar.  People  carried  baskets  in  their  arms, 
filled  with  the  now  discredited  coin,  when  they  went 
abroad  to  pay  a debt  or  make  purchase  of  the  neces- 
saries of  life.  Hugh  sacks  of  the  white  metal  were 
flung  at  the  door  of  the  mortgagee  when  discharge 
was  sought  for  a few  thousand  dollars.  Men  ser- 


31 


Tants  accompanied  their  mistresses  upon  shopping 
tours  to  carry  the  necessary  funds,  and  leather  pockets 
took  the  place  of  the  old  time  muslin  ones  in  male 
habiliments,  least  the  weight  of  the  fifteen  coins  re- 
quired to  make  up  a five  dollar  gold  piece  should 
tear  the  thin  stuff  and  spill  a dollar  at  every  step. 

All  day  long  in  the  large  cities,  huge  trucks  loaded 
with  sacks  of  the  coin  rolled  and  rumbled  over  the 
pavement  in  the  adjustment  of  the  business  balances 
of  the  day.  The  tradesman  who  called  for  his  bill 
was  met  at  the  door  with  a coal  scuttle  or  a nail  keg 
filled  with  the  needful  amount,  and  on  pay  day,  the 
working  man  took  his  eldest  boy  with  him  to  tote 
the  stuff  home  ” while  he  carried  the  usual  bundle  of 
firewood.  And  strange  to  say,  this  dollar,  once  so 
beloved  by  the  common  people,”  parted  with  its 
very  nature  of  riches  and  lay  in  heaps  iinnoticed  and 
unheeded  on  shelf  or  table,  until  occasion  arose  to  pay 
it  out  which  was  done  with  a careless  and  contempt- 
uous toss  as  if  it  were  the  iron  money  of  the  ancient 
Spartans,  and  Holy  Writ  for  once  at  least,  was  dis- 
proven  and  discredited  for  the  thief  showed  not  the 
slightest  inclination  to  “break  in  and  steal”  where 
these  treasures  had  been  laid  up  on  earth,  although 
the  discs  of  white  metal  might  lie  in  full  view  on  the 
table,  like  so  many  pewter  platters  or  pieces  of  tin- 
Avare.  Men  let  debts  run,  rather  than  call  for  them, 
and  barter  and  exchange  came  into  vogue  again,  the 
good  housewife  calling  on  her  neighbor  for  a loan 
of  flour  or  meal,  promising  to  return  the  same  in 
sugar  or  dried  fruit  whenever  the  need  might  arise. 

And  still  the  once  magic  discs  of  silver  slipped 
slowly  and  silently  downward,  and  ever  downward  in 
value  and  good  name,  until  it  almost  seemed  as  if 
the  people  hated  the  very  name  of  silver. 


CHAPTER  VIIL 


The  Fateful  year  of  '99’’  upon  its  coming  in, 
found  the  Republic  of  Washington  in  dire  and  dan- 
gerous straits.  The  commercial  and  industrial  boom 
had  spent  its  force,  and  now  the  frightful  evils  of  a 
debased  currency,  coupled  with  demoralizing  effects 
of  rampant  paternalism,  were  gradually  strangling 
the  land  to  death.  Capital,  ever  timid  and  distrust- 
ful in  such  times,  hid  itself  in  safe  deposit  vaults,  or 
fled  to  Europe.  Labor,  although  teally  hard  pressed 
and  lacking  the  very  necessities  of  life,  was  loud- 
mouthed and  defiant.  Socialism  and  Anarchism 
found  willing  ears  into  which  to  pour  their  burning 
words  of  hatred  and  malevolence,  and  the  conse- 
quence was  that  serious  rioting  broke  out  in  the 
larger  cities  of  the  North,  often  taxing  the  capacities 
of  the  local  authorities  to  the  utmost. 

It  was  bruited  abroad  that  violent  dissensions  had 
arisen  in  the  Cabinet,  the  young  President  giving 
signs  of  a marked  change  of  mind,  and  like  many  a 
^man  who  has  appealed  to  the  darker  passions  of  the 
human  heart,  he  seemed  almost  ready  to  exclaim  : 

I stand  alone.  The  spirits  I have  called  up  are  no 
longer  obedient  to  me.  My  country,  oh,  my  country, 
how  willingly  would  I give  my  life  for  thee,  if  by 
such  a sacrifice  I could  restore  thee  to  thy  old  time 
prosperity.” 

For  the  first  he  began  to  realize  what  an  intense 
spirit  of  sectionalism  had  entered  into  this  “ revolu- 
32 


33 


tionary  propaganda.”  He  spoke  of  his  fears  to  none 
save  to  his  wise  and  prudent  helpmate. 

I trust  3^ou,  beloved,”  she  whispered,  as  she 
pressed  the  broad,  strong  hands  that  held  her  en- 
clasped. 

“ Ay,  dear  one,  but  does  my  country  ?”  came  in 
almost  a groan  from  the  lips  of  the  youthful  ruler. 

Most  evident  was  it,  that  thus  far  the  South  had 
been  the  great  gainer  in  this  struggle  for  power. 
She  had  increased  her  strength  in  the  Senate  by  six 
votes ; she  had  regained  her  old  time  prestige  in  the 
House ; one  of  her  most  trusted  sons  was  in  the 
Speaker’s  chair,  while  another  brilliant  Southron  led 
the  administration  forces  on  the  floor.  Bom  as  she 
was  for  the  brilliant  exercise  of  intellectual  vigor, 
the  South  was  of  that  strain  of  blood  which  knows 
how  to  wear  the  kingly  graces  of  power  so  as  best  to 
impress  the  common  people.”  Many  of  the  men  of 
the  North  had  been  charmed  and  fascinated  by  this 
natural  pomp  and  inborn  demeanor  of  greatness  and 
had  yielded  to  it. 

Not  a month  had  gone  by  that  this  now  dominant 
section  had  not  made  some  new  demand  upon  the 
country  at  large.  Early  in  the  session,  at  its  request, 
the  internal  revenue  tax  which  had  rested  so  long 
upon  the  tobacco  crop  of  the  South,  and  poured  so 
many  millions  of  revenue  into  the  national  treasury, 
was  wiped  from  the  statute  books  with  but  a feeble 
protest  from  the  North. 

But  now  the  country  was  thrown  into  a state  bor- 
dering upon  frenzy  by  a new  demand,  which,  although 
couched  in  calm  and  decorous  terms,  nay,  almost  in 
the  guise  of  a petition  for  long-delayed  justice  to 
hard-pressed  and  suffering  brethren,  had  about  it  a 
suppressed,  yet  unmistakable  tone  of  conscious  power 


34 


and  imperiousness  which  well  became  the  leader  who 
spoke  for  “that  glorious  Southland  to  which  this 
Union  owes  so  much  of  its  greatness  and  its  prestige.” 

Said  he  : “ Mr.  Speaker,  for  nearly  thirty  years  our 
people,  although  left  impoverished  by  the  conflict  of 
the  states,  have  given  of  their  substance  to  salve  the 
wounds  and  make  green  the  old  age  of  the  men  v/ho 
conquered  us.  We  have  paid  this  heavy  tax,  this 
fearful  blood  money  unmurmuringly.  You  have  for- 
given us  for  our  bold  strike  for  liberty  that  God 
willed  should  not  succeed.  You  have  given  us  back 
our  rights,  opened  the  doors  of  these  sacred  halls  to 
us,  called  us  your  brothers,  but  unlike  noble  Germany 
who  was  content  to  exact  a lump  sum  from  “ la  belle 
France,”  and  then  bid  her  go  in  peace  and  freedom 
from  all  further  exactions,  you  have  for  nearly  thirty 
years  laid  this  humiliating  war  tax  upon  us,  and  thus 
forced  us  year  in  and  year  out  to  kiss  the  very  hand 
that  smote  us.  Are  we  human  that  we  now  cry  out 
against  it  ? Are  we  men  that  we  feel  no  tingle  in  our 
veins  after  these  long  years  of  punishment  for  no 
greater  crime  than  that  we  loved^liberty  better  than  the 
bonds  of  a confederation  laid  upon  us  by  our  fathers  ? 
We  appeal  to  you  as  our  brothers  and  our  country- 
men. Lift  this  infamous  tax  from  our  land,  than 
which  your  great  North  is  ten  thousand  times  richer. 
Do  one  of  two  things  : Either  take  our  aged  and  de- 
crepit soldiers  by  the  hand  and  bless  their  last  days 
with  pensions  from  the  treasury  of  our  common 
country,  for  they  were  only  wrong  in  that  their  cause 
failed,  or  remove  this  hated  tax  and  make  such  resti- 
tution of  this  blood  money  as  shall  seem  just  and 
equitable  to  your  soberer  and  better  judgment.” 

To  say  that  this  speech,  of  which  the  foregoing  is 
but  a brief  extract,  threw  both  Houses  of  Congress 


35 


into  most  violent  disorder,  but  faintly  describes  its 
effect.  Cries  of  treason  ! treason  ! went  up  ; blows 
were  exchanged  and  hand  to  hand  struggles  took 
place  in  the  galleries,  followed  by  the  flash  of  the 
dread  bowie  and  the  crack  of  the  ready  pistol.  The 
Republic  was  shaken  to  its  very  foundations. 
Throughout  the  North  there  was  but  a repetition  of 
the  scenes  that  followed  the  firing  upon  Sumter. 
Public  meetings  were  held,  and  resolutions  passed 
calling  upon  the  Government  to  concentrate  troops 
in  and  about  Washington,  and  prepare  for  the  sup- 
pression of  a second  Rebellion. 

But  gradually  this  outbreak  of  popular  indignation 
lost  some  of  its  strength  and  virulence,  for  it  was  easy 
to  comprehend  that  nothing  would  be  gained  at  this 
stage  of  the  matter  by  meeting  a violent  and  unlaw- 
ful demand  with  violence  and  unwise  counsels.  Be- 
sides, what  was  it  any  way  but  the  idle  threat  of  a 
certain  clique  of  unscrupulous  politicians  ? 

The  Republic  stood  upon  too  firm  a foundation  to 
be  shaken  by  mere  appeals  to  the  passions  of  the 
hour.  To  commit  treason  against  our  country  called 
for  an  overt  act.  What  had  it  to  dread  from  the  mere 
oratorical  flash  of  a passing  storm  of  feeling  ? 

It  is  hard  to  say  what  the  young  President  thought 
of  these  scenes  in  Congress.  So  pale  had  he  grown 
of  late  that  a little  more  of  pallor  would  pass  un- 
noted, but  those  who  were  wont  to  look  upon  his  face 
in  these  troublous  times  report  that  in  the  short 
space  of  a few  days  the  lines  in  his  countenance 
deepened  perceptibly,  and  that  a firmer^and  stronger 
expression  of  will-power  lurked  in  the  corners  of  his 
wide  mouth,  overhung  his  square  and  massive  chin, 
and  accentuated  the  vibrations  of  his  wide-opened 
nostrils.  He  was  under  a terrible  strain.  When  he 


had  caught  up  the  sceptre  of  power,  it  seemed  a mere 
bauble  in  his  strong  grasp,  but  now  it  had  grown 
strangely  heavy,  and  there  was  a mysterious  prick- 
ing at  his  brow,  as  if  that  crown  of  thorns  which  he 
had  not  willed  should  be  set  upon  the  heads  of  oth- 
ers, were  being  pressed  down  with  cruel  hands  upon 
his  own. 


CHAPTER  IX. 


When  the  last  embers  of  the  great  conflagration  of 
the  Rebellion  had  been  smothered  out  with  tears  for 
the  Lost  Cause,  a prophecy  had  gone  up  that  the 
mighty  North,  rich  with  a hundred  great  cities,  and 
strong  in  the  conscious  power  of  its  wide  empire, 
would  be  the  next  to  raise  the  standard  of  rebellion 
against  the  Federal  Government.  But  that  prophet 
was  without  honor  in  his  own  land,  and  none  had 
paid  heed  to  his  seemingly  wild  words. 

Yet  now,  this  same  mighty  North  sat  there  in  her 
grief  and  anxiety,  with  her  face  turned  Southward, 
and  her  ear  strained  to  catch  the  whispers  that  were 
in  the  air.  Had  not  the  sceptre  of  power  passed  from 
her  hand  forever?  Was  not  the  Revolution  com- 
plete ? Were  not  the  Populists  and  their  allies  firmly 
seated  in  the  Halls  of  Congress?  Had  not  the  Su- 
preme Court  been  rendered  powerless  for  good  by 
packing  it  with  the  most  uncompromising  adherents 
of  the  new  political  faith?  Had  not  the  very  nature 
of  the  Federal  Government  undergone  a change : 
Was  not  Paternalism  rampant  ? Was  not  Socialism 
on  the  increase?  Were  there  not  everywhere  evi- 
dences of  an  intense  hatred  of  the  North  and  a firm 
determination  to  throw  the  whole  burden  of  taxation 
upon  the  shoulders  of  the  rich  man,  in  order  that  the 
surplus  revenues  of  the  Government  might  be  dis- 
tributed among  those  who  constitute  the  “ common 
people?’*  How  could  this  section  of  the  Union  ever 
37 


38 


hope  to  make  head  against  the  South,  united,  as  it 
now  was,  with  the  rapidly  growing  States  of  the 
Northwest?  Could  the  magnificent  cities  of  the 
North  content  themselves  to  march  at  the  tail  of 
Tillman’s  and  Peffer’s  chariots  ? Had  not  the  South 
a firm  hold  of  the  Senate  ? Where  was  there  a ray  of 
hope  that  the  North  could  ever  again  regain  its  lost 
power,  and  could  it  for  a single  moment  think  of  en- 
trusting its  vast  interests  to  the  hands  of  a people 
differing  with  them  on  every  important  question  of 
statecraft,  pledged  to  a policy  that  could  not  be  oth- 
erwise than  ruinous  to  the  welfare  of  the  grand  com- 
monwealths of  the  Middle  and  Eastern  sections  of 
the  Union  and  their  sister  States  this  side  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi? It  were  madness  to  think  of  it.  The 
plunge  must  be  taken,  the  declaration  must  be  made. 
There  was  no  other  alternative,  save  abject  submis- 
sion to  the  chieftains  of  the  new  dispensation,  and 
the  complete  transformation  of  that  vast  social  and 
political  system  vaguely  called  the  North. 

But  this  revolution  within  a revolution  would  be  a 
bloodless  one,  for  there  could  be  no  thought  of  coer- 
cion, no  serious  notion  of  checking  such  a mighty 
movement.  It  would  be  in  reality  the  true  Republic 
purging  itself  of  a dangerous  malady,  sloughing  off 
a diseased  and  gangrened  member ; no  more,  no  less. 
^ Already  this  mighty  movement  of  withdrawals- 
from  the  Witenagemote  of  the  Union  was  in  the  air. 
People  spoke  of  it  in  a whisper,  or  with  bated  breath  ; 
but  as  they  turned  it  over  and  over  in  their  minds,  it 
took  on  shape  and  form  and  force,  till  at  last  it  burst 
into  life  and  action  like  Minerva  from  Jupiter’s 
brain — full-fledged,  full-armed,  full-voiced  and  full- 
hearted. 

Really,  why  would  it  not  be  all  for  the  best  that 


39 


this  mighty  empire,  rapidly  growing  so  vast  and  un- 
wieldy as  to  be  only  with  the  greatest  difficulty  gov- 
ernable from  a single  centre,  should  be  split  into 
three  parts.  Eastern,  Southern  and  Western,  now 
that  it  may  be  done  without  dangerous  jar  or  friction  ? 
The  three  republics  could  be  federated  for  purposes 
offensive  and  defensive,  and  until  these  great  and 
radical  changes  could  be  brought  about  there  would 
be  no  great  difficulty  in  devising  ‘^living  terms,”  for 
immediately  upon  the  Declaration  of  Dissolution, 
each  State  would  become  repossessed  of  the  sover- 
eign powers  which  it  had  delegated  to  the  Federal 
Government. 

Meanwhile  the  Fateful  year  ’99  ” went  onward 
toward  its  close.  The  whole  land  seemed  stricken 
with  paralysis,  so  far  as  the  various  industries  were 
concerned,  but,  as  it  is  wont  to  be  in  such  times, 
men’s  minds  were  supernaturally  active.  The  days 
were  passed  in  the  reading  of  public  prints,  or  in 
passing  in  review  the  weighty  events  of  the  hour. 
The  North  was  only  waiting  for  an  opportunity  to  act. 

But  the  question  that  perplexed  the  wisest  heads 
was : How  and  when  shall  the  Declaration  of  Dis- 
solution be  made,  and  how  soon  thereafter  shall  the 
North  and  the  States  in  sympathy  with  her  with- 
draw from  the  Union,  and  declare  to  the  world  their 
intention  to  set  up  a republic  of  their  own,  with  the 
mighty  metropolis  of  New  York  as  its  social,  politi- 
cal and  commercial  centre  and  capital  ? 

As  it  came  to  pass,  the  North  had  not  long  to  wait. 
The  Fifty-sixth  Congress  soon  to  convene  in  regular 
session  in  the  city  of  Washington,  was  even  more 
Populistic  and  Socialistic  than  its  famous  predeces- 
sor, which  had  wrought  such  wonderful  changes  in 
the  law  of  the  land,  showing  no  respect  for  precedent. 


40 


no  reverence  for  the  old  order  of  things.  Hence  all 
eyes  were  fixed  upon  the  capital  of  the  nation,  all 
roads  were  untrodden,  save  those  which  led  to  Wash- 
ington. 


CHAPTER  X. 


Again  Congress  had  refused  to  adjourn  over  for 
the  holidays.  The  leaders  of  the  Administration 
forces  were  unwilling  to  close  their  eyes,  even  for 
needful  sleep,  and  went  about  pale  and  haggard, 
startled  at  every  word  and  gesture  of  the  opposition, 
like  true  conspirators,  as  they  were,  for  the  Federal 
troops  had  been  almost  to  a man  quietly  removed 
from  the  Capital  and  its  vicinage,  lest  the  President 
in  a moment  of  weakness,  might  do  or  suffer  to  be 
done  some  act  unfriendly  to  the  Reign  of  the  Com- 
mon People. 

Strange  as  it  may  seem,  there  had  been  very  little 
note  taken  by  the  country  at  large  of  the  introduc- 
tion at  the  opening  of  the  session  of  an  Act  to  extend 
the  Pension  System  of  the  United  States  to  the 
Soldiers  of  the  Confederate  Armies,  and  for  covering 
back  into  the  various  treasuries  of  certain  States  of 
the  Union,  such  portions  of  internal  revenue  taxes 
collected  since  the  readmission  of  said  states  to  the 
Federal  Congress,  as  may  be  determined  by  Com- 
missioners duly  appointed  under  said  Act. 

Was  it  the  calm  of  despair,  the  stolidity  of  despera- 
tion, or  the  cool  and  restrained  energy  of  a noble  and 
refined  courage  ? 

The  introduction  of  the  Act,  however,  had  one 
effect ; it  set  in  motion  toward  the  National  capital, 
mighty  streams  of  humanity — not  of  wild-eyed 
fanatics  or  unshaven  and  unkempt  politicasters  and 

41 


42 


bezonians — but  of  soberly-clad  citizens  with  a busi- 
ness-like air  about  them,  evidently  men  who  knew 
how  to  earn  more  than  enough  for  a living,  men  wha 
paid  their  taxes  and  had  a right  to  take  a look  at  the 
public  servants,  if  desire  so  moved  them.  But  very 
plain  was  it  that  the  mightier  stream  flowed  in  from 
the  South,  and  those  who  remembered  the  Capital  in 
antebellum  da^^’s,  smiled  at  the  old  familiar  sight,  the 
clean-shaven  faces,  the  long  hair  thrown  carelessly 
back  under  the  broad  brim  felts,  the  half  unbuttoned 
vraistcoats  and  turn  down  collars,  the  small  feet  and 
neatly  fitting  boots,  the  springy  loping  pace,  the  soft 
negroese  intonation,  the  long  fragrant  cheroot. 

It  was  easy  to  pick  out  the  man  from  the  North- 
land, well-clad  and  w'ell-groomed,  as  careful  of  his 
linen  as  a woman,  prim  and  trim,  disdainful  of  the 
picturesque  felts,  ever  crowned  with  the  ceremonious 
derby,  the  man  of  affairs,  taking  a business-like  view 
of  life,  but  wearing  for  the  nonce  a worried  look  and 
drawing  ever  and  anon  a deep  breath. 

The  black  man,  ever  at  the  heels  of  his  white 
brother,  set  to  rule  over  him  by  an  inscrutable  decree 
of  nature,  came  forth  too  in  thousands,  chatting  and 
laughing  gayly,  careless  of  the  why  or  wherefore  of 
his  white  brother’s  deep  concern,  and  powerless  to 
comprehend  it  had  he  so  desired.  Every  hour  now 
added  to  the  throng.  The  broad  avenues  were  none 
too  broad.  The  excitement  increased.  Men  talked 
louder  and  louder,  women  and  children  disappeared 
almost  completely  from  the  streets.  The  Southern 
element”  drew  more  and  more  apart  in  knots  and 
groups  by  itself.  Men  threw  themselves  upon  their 
beds  to  catch  a few  hours  sleep,  but  without  undress- 
ing, as  if  they  were  expecting  the  happening  of  some 
portentous  event  at  any  moment,  the  event  of  their 


43 

lives,  and  dreaded  the  thought  of  being  a moment 
late. 

If  all  went  well,  the  bill  would  come  up  for  final 
passage  on  Saturday,  the  30th  day  of  the  month,  but 
so  fierce  was  the  battle  raged  against  it,  and  so  fre~ 
quent  the  interruptions  by  the  contumacy  both  of 
members  and  of  the  various  cliques  crowding  the 
galleries  to  suffocation,  that  little  or  no  progress 
could  be  made. 

The  leaders  of  the  administration  forces  saw  mid-^ 
night  drawing  near  with  no  prospect  of  attaining 
their  object  before  the  coming  in  of  Sunday  on  which 
the  House  had  never  been  known  to  sit.  An  adjourn^ 
ment  over  to  Monday  of  the  New  Year  might  be 
fatal,  for  who  could  tell  what  unforseen  force  might 
not  break  up  their  solid  ranks  and  throw  them  inta 
confusion.  They  must  rise  equal  to  the  occasion. 
A motion  was  made  to  suspend  the  rules,  and  to  re-^ 
main  in  continuous  session  until  the  business  before 
the  House  was  completed.  Cries  of  Unprece- 
dented!” ‘‘Revolutionary!”  “Monstrous!”  came 
from  the  opposition,  but  all  to  no  purpose  ; the  House 
settled  down  to  its  work  with  such  a grim  determina- 
tion to  conquer  that  the  Republican  minority  fairly 
quailed  before  it.  Food  and  drink  were  brought  to 
the  members  in  their  seats  ; they  ate,  drank  and 
slept  at  their  posts,  like  soldiers  determined  not  to  be 
ambushed  or  stampeded. 

It  was  a strange  sight,  and  yet  an  impressive  one 
withal — a great  party  struggling  for  long  deferred 
rights — freemen  jealous  of  their  liberties,  bound  to- 
gether with  the  vSteel  hooks  of  determination  that 
only  death  might  break  asunder. 

Sunday  came  in  at  last,  and  still  the  struggle  went 
on.  “ The  people  know  no  days  when  their  liberties 


44 


are  at  stake,”  cried  the  leader  of  the  House.  “ The 
Sabbath  was  made  for  man  ahd  not  man  for  the 
Sabbath.” 

Many  of  the  speeches  delivered  on  that  famous 
Sunday  sounded  more  like  the  lamentations  of  a 
Jeremiah,  the  earnest  and  burning  utterances  of  a 
Paul,  or  the  scholarly  and  well-rounded  periods  of 
an  Apollos.  The  weary  hours  were  lightened  by 
the  singing  of  hymns  by  the  Southern  members, 
most  of  them  good  methodists,  in  which  their  friends 
and  sympathizers  in  the  galleries  joined  full  throated 
and  fuller  hearted ; while  at  times,  clear,  resonant 
and  in  perfect  unison,  the  voices  of  the  staunch  men 
of  the  North  broke  in  and  drowned  out  the  religious 
song  with  the  majestic  and  soul-stirring  measures  of 
John  Brown’s  Body,”  the  Glory,  Glory  Halleluiah” 
of  which  seemed  to  hush  the  tumult  of  the  Chamber 
like  a weird  chant  of  some  invisible  chorus  breaking 
in  upon  the  fierce  rioting  of  a Belshazzar’s  feast. 

Somewhat  after  eleven  o’clock,  an  ominous  silence 
sank  upon  the  opposing  camps,  the  Republican 
leaders  could  be  seen  conferring  together  nervously. 
It  was  a sacred  hour  of  night,  thrice  sacred  for  the 
great  Republic.  Not  only  a New  Year,  but  a New 
Century  was  about  to  break  upon  the  world.  A 
^trange  hush  crept  over  the  turbulent  House,  and  its 
still  more  turbulent  galleries. 

The  Republican  leader  rose  to  his  feet.  His  voice 
sounded  cold  and  hollow.  Strong  men  shivered  as 
they  listened.  Mr  Speaker  : We  have  done  our 
duty  to  our  country  ; we  have  nothing  more  to  say, 
no  more  blows  to  strike.  We  cannot  stand  here  with- 
in the  sacred  precincts  of  this  Chamber,  and  see  our 
rights  as  freemen  trampled  beneath  the  feet  of  the 
majority.  We  have  striven  to  prevent  the  downfall 


45 


of  the  Republic,  like  men  sworn  to  battle  against 
wrong  and  tyranny,  but  there  comes  a time  when 
blank  despair  seizes  upon  the  hearts  of  those  who 
struggle  against  overwhelming  odds.  That  hour  has 
sounded  for  us.  We  believe  our  people,  the  great 
and  generous  people  of  the  North,  will  cry  unto  us  : 
Well  done,  good  and  faithful  servants.  If  we  do 
wrong,  let  them  condemn  us.  We,  every  man  of  us, 
Mr.  Speaker,  have  but  this  moment  sworn  not  to 
stand  within  this  Chamber  and  witness  the  passage 
of  this  act.  Therefore  we  go ” 

^‘Not  so,  my  countrymen,”  cried  a clear  metallic 
far-reaching  voice  that  sounded  through  the  Chamber 
with  an  almost  supernatural  ring  in  it.  In  an  instant, 
every  head  was  turned  and  a thousand  voices  burst 
out  with  suppressed  force  : 

The  President ! The  President !” 

In  truth,  it  was  he,  standing  at  the  bar  of  the  House, 
wearing  the  visage  of  death  rather  than  of  life.  The 
next  instant  the  House  and  galleries  burst  into  a 
deafening  clamor  which  rolled  up  and  back  in  mighty 
waves  that  shook  the  very  walls.  There  was  no  still- 
ing it.  Again  and  again  it  burst  forth,  the  mingl- 
ing of  ten  thousand  words,  howling,  rumbling  and 
groaning  like  the  warring  elements  of  nature.  Sev- 
eral times  the  President  stretched  forth  his  great 
white  hands  appealing  for  silence,  while  the  dew  of 
mingled  dread  and  anguish  beaded  on  his  brow  and 
trickled  down  his  cheeks  in  liquid  supplication  that 
his  people  might  either  slay  him  or  listen  to  him. 
The  tumult  stilled  its  fury  for  a moment,  and  he 
could  be  heard  saying  brokenly  : 

‘‘My  countrymen,  oh,  my  countrymen ” 

But  the  quick  sharp  sound  of  the  gavel  cut  him 
short. 


46 


The  President  must  withdraw/'  said  the  Speaker, 
calmly  and  coldly,  “ his  presence  here  is  a menace  to 
our  free  deliberation." 

Again  the  tumult  set  up  its  deafening  roar,  while 
a look  of  almost  horror  overspread  the  countenance 
of  the  Chief  Magistrate. 

Once  more  his  great  white  hands  went  heavenward, 
pleading  for  silence  with  such  a mute  majesty  of  sup- 
plication, that  silence  fell  upon  the  immense  assem- 
b)lage,  and  his  lips  moved  not  in  vain. 

“Gentlemen  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  I 
stand  here  upon  my  just  and  lawful  right  as  Presi- 
dent of  the  Republic,  to  give  you  ^ information  of  the 
state  of  the  Union.'  I have  summoned  the  Honor- 
able the  Senate,  to  meet  me  in  this  Chamber. 
I call  upon  you  to  calm  your  passions,  and  give  ear 
to  me  as  your  oath  of  office  sets  the  sacred  obliga- 
tion upon  you." 

There  was  a tone  of  godlike  authority  in  these  few 
words,  almost  divine  enough  to  make  the  winds  obey 
and  still  the  tempestuous  sea.  In  deepest  silence, 
and  with  a certain  show  of  rude  and  native  grandeur 
of  bearing,  the  Senators  made  their  entrance  into  the 
Chamber,  the  members  of  the  House  rising,  and  the 
Speaker  advancing  to  meet  the  Vice-President. 
f The  spectacle  was  grand  and  moving.  Tears 
gathered  in  eyes  long  unused  to  them,  and  at  an 
almost  imperceptible  nod  of  the  President's  head, 
the  Chaplain  raised  his  voice  in  prayer.  He  prayed 
in  accents  that  were  so  gentle  and  so  persuasive,  they 
must  have  turned  the  hardest  heart  to  blessed 
thoughts  of  peace  and  love  and  fraternity  and  union. 
And  then  again  all  eyes  were  fixed  with  intensest 
strain  upon  the  face  of  the  President. 

“ Gentlemen  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  this 
measure  upon  which  you  are  now  deliberating  " 


47 


With  a sudden  blow  that  startled  every  living  soul 
within  its  hearing,  the  Speaker’s  gavel  fell.  “ The 
President,”  said  he  with  a superb  dignity  that  called 
down  from  the  galleries  a burst  of  deafening  applause, 
^‘must  not  make  reference  to  pending  legislation. 
The  Constitution  guarantees  him  the  right  ‘ from 
time  to  time  to  give  to  the  Congress  information  of 
the  Union.’  He  must  keep  himself  strictly  within 
the  lines  of  this  Constitutional  limit,  or  withdraw 
from  the  bar  of  the  House.” 

A deadly  pallor  overspread  the  face  of  the  Chief 
Magistrate  till  it  seemed  he  must  sink  then  and  there 
into  that  sleep  which  knows  no  awakening,  but  he 
gasped,  he  leaned  forward,  he  raised  his  hand  again 
imploringly,  and  as  he  did  so,  the  bells  of  the  city 
began  to  toll  the  hour  of  midnight. 

The  New  Year,  the  New  Century  was  born,  but 
with  the  last  stroke,  a fearful  and  thunderous  dis- 
'Charge  as  of  a thousand  monster  pieces  of  artillery, 
shook  the  Capitol  to  its  very  foundations,  making  the 
stoutest  hearts  stand  still,  and  blanching  cheeks  that 
had  never  known  the  coward  color.  The  dome  of 
the  Capitol  had  been  destroyed  by  dynamite. 

In  a few  moments,  when  it  was  seen  that  the 
•Chamber  had  suffered  no  harm,  the  leader  of  the 
House  moved  the  final  passage  of  the  Act.  The 
President  was  led  away,  and  the  Republican  Senators 
and  Representatives  passed  slowly  out  of  the  dis- 
figured Capitol,  while  the  tellers  prepared  to  take 
the  vote  of  the  House.  The  bells  were  ringing  a 
glad  welcome  to  the  New  Century,  but  a solemn  toll- 
ing would  have  been  a fitter  thing,  for  the  Republic 
of  Washington  was  no  more.  It  had  died  so  peace- 
fully, that  the  world  could  not  believe  the  tidings  of 
its  passing  away.  As  the  dawn  broke  cold  and  gray, 


48 


and  its  first  dim  light  fell  upon  that  shattered  dome^ 
glorious  even  in  its  ruins,  a single  human  eye,  filled 
with  a gleam  of  devilish  joy,  looked  up  at  it  long  and 
steadily,  and  then  its  owner  was  caught  up  and  lost 
in  the  surging  mass  of  humanity  that  held  the  Capitol 
girt  round  and  round. 


PRICE  fO  CENTS 


'1900' 

OR, 

THE  LAST  PRESIDENT 


BY 

INGERSOLL  LOCKWOOD, 

Of  the  New  York  Bar. 


:p  28^8% 

The  Trade  Su^iTe3  by 
THE  AMERICAN  NEWS  COMPANY, 


New  York. 


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